Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lynn

Another fallen comrade. Lynn lost her brief, but valiant struggle this week long before it was her turn. She was diagnosed just weeks ago and now she is gone. Let me tell you some of my memories.

Lynn was a singer, a soloist with a remarkable voice and a choir leader. That is how I first recall her as they moved into the community in the early 1970s. She was working with the kids at church when Jeff and Amy were doing children's choir. I was supposed to pick them up one afternoon following their rehearsal. When I got to the church all I could hear was laughter. And when I got inside there was Lynn down on all fours giving rides to these young kids. It seemed like it was always tough to get kids to do music rehearsals and while I am sure they worked hard and did all the musical things, Lynn was not going to let a few minutes go by while they waited for their rides to dampen their spirits. She got right down on the floor and played with them. I am guessing by subtraction that she was in her mid-twenties. I thought to myself...wow, she is going to pay for that in the morning. It wasn't too long after that when word went out that she was having back problems. Ouch, I thought. But that didn't deter her.

She began teaching while I was still at FMS and took some time off to have her family, then came back. Our paths intersected at school as we were both working on our Master's degrees at GVSC (then). We both enrolled in the same stats course with Dr. Faite Mack, one of the founders of the M. Ed. program at GV. Every week we drove off to Allendale together after a day at FMS to sit in an overcrowded class room while Dr. Mack worked problem after problem on an overhead projector. Other than the crowded class and boring subject matter, what I remember most is our commute and laughing at the antics of some special young teenagers. I think it was the spring of 1976. We had lots of good laughs.

When Justin and Gwen came along we kept in touch through our music at church and again laughing at the language skills of her young tikes. While hammering on a peg board of some sort she reported Justin said he was "boshing." That description of that story has stuck with me over the years. Whenever Aleene would hear me hammering at something indicating frustration and would ask for an explanation, I just said that I was boshing just like Justin...and we would laugh.

By the time I left teaching, 25 years ago, Lynn was a fixture in the 7th grade curriculum...and what a good thing that was. Middle School English is not something that most teachers aspire to make a career teaching. Most, when they had enough seniority, moved on. Not Lynn. She loved those kids. She was the type of teacher that is so important for young teens to have. She caused them to love their subject, through her talent and enthusiasm. She later became involved in a National Writing organization, which she kept up with until she retired. I cannot do that phase of her life justice, but suffice it to say she was dedicated to improving the writing skills of her students.

She was a fixture at the Winery, of course; how could she not be? She helped me with the proper pronunciation of Gew├╝rztraminer. She spoke German, too. I will always think of her when I tip a glass of that white, semi-dry wine...one of my favorites.

She and Doug helped us celebrate our 30th anniversary in 1995 when I talked them into allowing us to take over their tasting room (before it was enlarged to the present size) and entertain a few of our friends. She was in on that deal, encouraging us all the way. It was a smashing success...thanks to them.

I could go on and on...there was the bat story...oh well, why not one more?. The last year the church had a live Christmas tree (or at least when I had anything to do with it) a bat must have come in with the tree, which as I recall had some grassy debris in it. Anyway, a week or two later Lynn got up to sing a rousing rendition of one of her favorites when this bat decided to climb down the brick wall behind her...unbeknownst to her, of course. And we in the congregation watched and flinched and hoped that the bat would stop and stay put at least until she finished (which it did) but to a person we wanted to stop her and say...Lynn, watch out there is a bat behind you. After church she grinned when we told her of our classless inattention to her work and she said that she knew something must be really wrong because it was out of character for the entire congregation to not pay attention to her. We had a big laugh.

And we lost her...her talent, her loving smile and her wit. Those of us who are older feel terrible that she did not get to enjoy her golden years when you can enjoy the past and the present and at least think...to hell with the future. Lynn just exemplifies the need for each of us to live each day for what it is, a precious gift.

And as the saying goes, "God needed a strong soprano in His heavenly choir, so He reached down and picked one of the best He ever created." But we will miss her.

1 comment:

Gwen said...

Wow, Mr. Lutz! That was a beautiful tribute to my amazing mother. You really brought tears to my eyes when I read that. I know how special she was, but it was so lovely to read that she has been special to others, too. I can't believe you still use the word, "bosh," because we also do. She was a wonderful, selfless woman and I really thank you for sharing memories.